Factoid from a Travelogue

Over at Obasidian Wings, Doctor Science has a review of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, and gives us this little factoid:

As for who *should* pay for the bridge, there’s no question in my mind: it should be (mostly) the trucking industry. It won’t, of course, but that would be fair.

Most of the vehicles that go over the TZB are cars, of course. But it turns out that the stress a vehicle puts on a road or bridge goes up as the fourth power of its weight per axle.

An example: my 2-axle car weighs about 4000 lbs. Empty, a typical 5-axle tractor-trailer weighs about 33,000 lbs. So the empty truck is about 3.3 times as heavy per axle, and causes almost 120 times the damage.

My toll on the TZB is $4.75. If that truck was paying its way across the TBZ, it should pay a toll of more than $500. But that’s only if it’s empty! Remember, the burden on the system goes up as the fourth power. If the truck is pretty full, weighing 72,800 lbs, it weighs 6 or 7 times as much per axle as my car — and does more than 1500 times the damage. A fair toll would be more than $8000.

In actuality, no truck pays more than $50 to go over the TZB, and that’s the rush hour price: it drops to under $25 if you cross at night. Other drivers, and the population as a whole, are subsidizing the trucking industry to a truly epic degree. And this occurs while the trucking industry has exploited its workers to the point of indentured servitude — before they start replacing most of them with robots.

If the problem in our society could be reduced to a single issue, (They can’t) it would be the various direct and indirect subsidies that the rich and powerful in our society extract from the rest of us.

Whether it’s trucking, pharma, TBTF banks, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, charter schools, big ag, etc., their current business models would be unsustainable but for the money that they extract from the rest of us.

We are riven by parasites.

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